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tech

Digital minister Kono asks gov't to stop using floppy disks

46 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

If you look at Wikipedia’s English-language entry for Taro Kono, it describes the Japanese politician as having “developed a reputation as a political maverick.” So having assumed a new position as Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, you might expect him to be planning to shake things up, and indeed Kono has wasted no time with a bold proposal: no more floppy disks.

In a press conference held this week, Kono revealed the results of a review by Japan’s Digital Agency, the cabinet division he heads, of policy regulations within the Japanese government. The study found that there are roughly 1,900 ordinances that require the submission of applications or storing of data to be on some sort of physical storage medium.

In addition to floppy and optical disks, Kono says the study also found rules requiring the use of CD-ROMs, mini disks, and cassette tapes, prompting Kono to exasperatedly remark: “I’m not sure where people are even supposed to be able to buy floppy disks anymore.”

“These policies should be swiftly reconsidered,” Kono said, lamenting how the antiquated requirements are impeding the implementation of online and cloud-based systems, and called for revised regulations to be drafted within the year and presented to applicable government agencies for compliance.

It’s worth noting that while the study found nearly 1,900 instances in which such physical storage media is required, they don’t appear to be the sort of situations that most people are likely to encounter in their daily lives. Government offices aren’t asking people to file their tax return on floppy disks, or to register their car via cassette-recorded voice message. Instead, the physical-media requirements seem to be primarily related to business applications and government archiving, with businesses’ calls for modernization on the government’s part being part of what prompted the review.

Sources: Jiji via Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu, Nihon Keizai Shimbun

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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And remember, it was also Taro Kono who took over as vaccination czar to quickly fix Japan’s slowness in getting nearly everyone vaccinated! And very unfortunately, his sensible measures resulted in him losing to Fumio Kishida when the LDP chose a new leader last September.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Does this mean they'll also have to stop using Windows 98 and XP as well?

4 ( +16 / -12 )

Backup 1 video = need 1,000 1.44Mb floppy disks. OK

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

...prompting Kono to exasperatedly remark: “I’m not sure where people are even supposed to be able to buy floppy disks anymore.”

Amazon!

https://www.amazon.co.jp/SONY-フロッピーディスク-Windowsフォーマット-3-5インチ-10MF2HDQDVB/dp/B00008B4QI

And they are in stock!

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Digital minister Kono asks gov't to stop using floppy disks

and people think Japan is a high tech country?

I'm putting this on my facebook page so everyone can see

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

At last Japan makes a Great Leap Forward out of the 20th century, or is that the 19th?

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

I don't think I've seen an A drive reader in about 15 years.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not to mention the paperchase you get every time you visit city hall!

Btw this article is based on overseas reports too.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/japan-declares-war-on-the-floppy-disk-yes-the-floppy-disk-20220902-p5betv.html

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Digital minister Kono asks gov't to stop using floppy disks

and people think Japan is a high tech country?

I'm putting this on my facebook page so everyone can see

Winning one battle at a time.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

And fax while you're at it.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Heavens! What will be next to go? Faxes?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

It is going to take a lot of time, resources and training to finally do something that has been neglected for decades, if it was as simple as just changing equipment it would have been done already.

In some places this continues because the system in place to deal with the storage and maintenance of the information is extremely antiquated, so it runs on equally old equipment, that is not compatible with newer technology. So to modernize the equipment it is required to modernize the whole information system from scratch.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It is said this are wrtitren rules and ordinances. But in really, how does it work, any concrete examples that some agencies still use floppy disks. I believe nobody does.

Maybe some savings on CD roms, or for sure paper.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The BBC had this story yesterday and had far more info in it. Yes he mentioned fax’s and a paper centric bureaucratic structure that’s holding back businesses growth, and new investment.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

When dealing with the authorities here, there are reams of paper to fill out and stamp.

The demise of the floppy disk is just a small step forward…

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And remember, it was also Taro Kono who took over as vaccination czar to quickly fix Japan’s slowness in getting nearly everyone vaccinated! 

It was Suga who got everything done not Kono.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I've not seen floppy disks for decades and computers don't have floppy disk drive any more in the first place. Floppy disk is a dinosaur tech today. Bureaucrats are still using floppy? Better use USB stick memory at least.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Politicians have a nasty habit of being too specific when they roll out legislation that relates to tech. The most famous example was the insistence by the South Korean government, that their citizens used Microsoft's Active X. That was the very definition of things not ending well.

Legislation is usually expected to be specific, because it has to avoid legal loopholes. But you cannot be specific with tech as it changes so quickly. 'By secure means' should be enough.

Most files are now too big to go on a floppy, although USB-capable FDDs and the disks themselves are still available. Most folk have moved to memory cards. Memory sticks with hardware encryption are being used as crypto wallets. Retro computing requires early media, and once it stops being made, it is a real problem for hobbyists. Thankfully, memory card adaptors are produced for a number of 8-bit machines.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And remember, it was also Taro Kono who took over as vaccination czar to quickly fix Japan’s slowness in getting nearly everyone vaccinated! 

@F35pilot

It was Suga who got everything done not Kono.

Oh, how quickly we forget! Kono took over as the vaccinations minister in mid-January 2021, which was after the previous group (under Suga) bungled initial negotiations for vaccine supply and the government’s decision (under Suga) to conduct domestic trials. In fact, Kono was very critical of the push to conduct what he felt were needless domestic trials.

According to him, Pfizer actually included about 100 Japanese (living outside Japan) in its international clinical trial, but Japan’s Health Ministry (under Suga) refused to accept that data, claiming that the food and diet of those Japanese differed from that traditionally consumed inside Japan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

But what about the floppy disk manufacturers? Wont anyone think about them?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Digital minister Kono asks gov't to stop using floppy disks

Slow down for a second……….what does he think this is? The year 2000?

Does he seriously think mankind is ready for such a bold step? Idk…..

Still can’t tell if this Web surfing trend is going to end as well.

Darn it, where’d I put my check book?

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

They're still using floppies?? hahaha. I shouldn't be surprised. Probably keep them next to the fax machines.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

I haven't floppied since Windows 95 when I used 128MB ones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you look at Wikipedia’s English-language entry for Taro Kono, it describes the Japanese politician as having “developed a reputation as a political maveric

He probably got someone in his department to write that garbage. Thankfully, anyone can correct it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Digital minister Kono asks gov't to stop using floppy disks

Kono is also the one who told administrations to give up faxes and hankos with the only result he got being...the proverbial finger.

He's also the one who when acting as "vaccin tsar" tried to shoehorn My Number in the whole process which medical facilities and professional opposed as they couldn't work with the patients' data, to which Kono suggested them to store patient's data...on USBs.

What a guy! At least he knows what a USB is and how to use twitter. A real maverick in the LDP. (#sarcasm)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Kono is also the one who told administrations to give up faxes and hankos with the only result he got being...the proverbial finger."

Not exactly....a lot of stuff that required hankos before Kono leaned into the buraucrats now doesn't. He got results, not perfect and he might not fit your definition of a maverick but atm he is the best LDP has to offer ( in terms of a reformer). That's why LDP conservatives made sure he wasn't elected a leader ( despite being an overwhelming people's choice ) and shoed in Kishida instead.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

a:\ shocked face

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But what about the floppy disk manufacturers? Wont anyone think about them?"

Lol, you're right.....their plight deserves setting up a government expert panel & series of meetings :)

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Bold proposal . No more floppy discs

That's hilarious

Super high tech superior advanced nation of Japan considers making floppy discs obsolete.

The innovative ingenuity master race.

Laughed right out of the high tech digital community.

And their new cardboard satellites their making

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

when you have crusty octogenarians who do nothing but collect checks and resist any change in charge of policy this is the result

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So to modernize the equipment it is required to modernize the whole information system from scratch.

If I were Kono, I would recruit Joi Ito to head up a task force to build a digital society from scratch built around quantum networks. Bring in IBM as consultants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

and people think Japan is a high tech country?

No, Korea is.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Imagine being a fresh IT graduate and you applied to these offices as an IT engineer and you have no idea what a floppy disk is.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

When was the floppy disk invented? 1971. It was an 8-inch flexible magnetic disk in a square case. The first floppy disks were read-only. Invented by IBM.

Kids today don't even know what a VHS tape, CD, DVD, and many more, are.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In a weird way using floppy discs is a positive thing. It’s such an antiquated technology that most hackers are too young to know what they are ;P

7 ( +7 / -0 )

and people think Japan is a high tech country?

No, Korea is.

no argument there

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

What problems do they all have with those floppy disks? They are not better or worse for data storage than a CD, DVD, USB stick or the nowadays favorite, a cloud server in China. lol No, there’s even a small advantage, because in our era only a very few other people than the sender and receiver have still left such old disks and the needed writing/ reading equipment. Yes, one can probably find one in recycling stores, but then you’re also in the surveillance video footage. If stolen, it’s probable the thiefs can’t use the data at all or can’t use it immediately, first having to search the old reader hardware or specific software. In my opinion, not all, but most of those 1900 entities very well know why they still use those old floppy disks.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It was Suga who got everything done not Kono.

Suga got NOTHING done. You just support him because he is Nippon Kaigi and Kono isn't.

Suga was USELESS and should have stayed on his family's strawberry farm

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

No no no! Everybody here's just getting in wrong. Japan isn't behind, it's only doing things differently.

As you know, Japanese culture is unique and completely different from any other. That's why the country managed to remain a tech super power. This isn't despite still widely using floppy discs and fax machines and Kono's predecessor not even using a computer (it truly takes genius-level capabilities of abstract thinking for that, with all the wise decisions coming from a place detached from the impulsive whims of real-life experience, mind blown!). It has performed so well because of all these things!

Lol!

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Kono's predecessor not even using a computer

I believe the man was the minister of cyber security..

But yeah. Or the minister in charge of raising the childbirth calling women baby machines...

Or the Finance minster Aso who walked into a supermarket and was astonished as to how people make purchases.....

but yeah. Great leadership we have here

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I believe the man was the minister of cyber security..

True, my bad. I remember Sakurada more for his wisdom than the different jobs he's had. I'd be an irresponsible citizen if I were one.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Floppies are very safe. No one else has a way to play them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have just finished a very nice meal with a friend who worked for the Finance ministry over a decade ago. He said even back then they never saw a floppy disk. If Kono is on war path, it's with himself, because it's the antiquated legislation that's behind the times. Or Kono could just be suffering from neglect or irrelevance syndrome.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The man deserves a raise for finally dragging Japan, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. While he's at it, can he do away with fax machines and having to do paperwork in triplicate when one goes to city hall?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Interestingly, there are still a couple of professional lighting desks, sold today and used in concerts and events, that rely on 3.5" Floppy Disks to store their settings.

That would puzzle even the former deputy minister for cybersecurity, who did not know what a USB memory stick was, and had never used a computer in his life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hack proof!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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